7 August, 2006

DIY Angkor Wat

Construction of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat required the resources of an empire, including legions of slaves. Thankfully, for those who lack the resources of King Suryavarman II, another option is now available.:

INSTRUCTIONS: Print only 1 single page on your printer. You can make larger by using a photocopier to enlarge.


(Link via IZ)

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by @ 4:34 pm. Filed under Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia

28 June, 2006

Phnom Penh Food Safety

AsiaPundit has often eaten food from street stalls and small eateries run by cigarette-puffing proprietors. While ashes falling upon meals has occasionally caused concern, we should remember that chewing tobacco is not a safe alternative.:

We hear a lot about the dangers of secondhand smoke, but let’s not overlook the dangers of second-hand chewing tobacco…
Chewing Tobacco in Noodles Sickens 30
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Thirty Cambodians suffered food poisoning after eating homemade noodles contaminated with chewing tobacco that had dropped into the batter from the cook’s mouth, police said Monday.

In Cambodia, it is not unusual to discover objects that are typically smoked found in meals. AsiaPundit was once shocked to discover a large quantity of another noxious weed on food ordered at a very popular restaurant.

In part, the United Nations can be blamed for the lack of food safety.:

HappypizzaHappy Herb’s began in the heady days when the UN ruled Cambodia while they tried to sort out some half-decent elections. Cambodia was flooded with danger-seeking fools with astronomical wages which they squandered on drugs, prostitutes and fine dining. Herb was taught to cook pizzas by one of this crew, and suggested adding ganja, a traditional Khmer ingredient. (Later in the meal a veteran of the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia came over, steaming drunk and blazing a big Sherlock Holmes style pipe. “I used to be Very Important!” he said to a military policeman who couldn’t understand English. “I was an Election Monitor in 93!” His Khmer wife and child stood back in embarrassment.)

Herb’s always been a dab hand in the kitchen. He was his unit’s cook in the civil war, before he ran away. “I didn’t want to fight,” he said. As his unit was nearing the battlefield he and his two mates jumped off the lorry and legged it into the jungle. Because he was a deserter no one would give him a lift, so it took him a week to walk back to Phnom Penh. He sold all of his gear for food except for his AK-47, which he keeps to shoo away the tiny lizards that gather around light bulbs at night. “I take out the powder from the bullets,” he says, “I leave just enough to stun the little chik-chaks.”
The pizza arrived on a nice wooden platter. Herb’s found a blend of spices that complements the flavour of ganja perfectly. Anyone who’s tried cooking with weed will know that it leaves a sharp taste that overwhelms the rest of the food. Herb’s pizza has managed to tone it down with lots of creamy cheese, oregano and some other Italian herbs.

Related to food, many recommendations for fine dining in the Mekong region and elsewhere can be found by visiting the first-quarter nominees for the Best Asian Food Blog.

(Above image stolen from the Virtual Tourist page for Happy Herb’s.)

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by @ 10:14 am. Filed under Food and Drink, Cambodia, Asia, Southeast Asia

19 June, 2006

Footie, Babes and Lost Productivity

AsiaPundit apologies for the past week of inactivity. The lapse was partly due to technical issues, partly due to Asia Blog Award-related administration and partly related to the World Cup.

In regards to the latter excuse, AP is not alone. While there has not been much data on the tournament’s economic impact on Asia, from experience he will note that in 2002 trading on several regional securities exchanges was essentially halted (resulting in some very odd movements as a result of low volumes). Truck and Barter alerts us to reports on the costs to the US and US economies.:

In the US;
“The World Cup will likely cost American companies 10 minutes of productivity a day for 21 days, according to the outplacement company of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That comes to about $121.7 million in lost productivity in the US, a large figure, particularly painful for any company dominated by Englishmen, Germans or Brazilians perhaps.”
In UK;
“Based on an average hourly wage of £12.50, the law firm Brabners Chaffe Street calculated that during the tournament, if half of British workers surf the net for an hour a day, it will cost Britain nearly £4 billion in lost time”

In spite of the lost productivity, bosses are generally understanding and there are few sackings. In Indonesia, however, there has been one Cup-related firing and it was deserved.:

Siti-Hediati-Hariyadi-1A vain attempt by former dictator Suharto’s middle daughter Siti ‘Titiek’ Hediati Hariyadi to improve her super-rich family’s bad image by presenting the World Cup soccer tournament on her SCTV television network backfired after she was pulled off the air following a deluge of complaints about her ineptitude.
Titiek, whose company is the majority shareholder of SCTV, was at the helm of a three-member panel of hosts for each night’s opening game over the first three days of the World Cup. Her dire lack of knowledge and passion for soccer were painfully obvious as she was seated alongside Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) vice president Dali Taher and former national soccer coach Danurwindo.
Her incompetence was perhaps best demonstrated during the opening game between Germany and Costa Rica, when she erroneously referred to Germany as “Jerman Barat [West Germany]” – apparently forgetting that West and East Germany had reunited back in 1990.
Soccer fans, forced to watch SCTV because it is the exclusive Indonesian broadcaster of this year’s World Cup, lambasted Titiek’s ignorance, inexperience and awkward performance. They demanded she be replaced by someone more professional.
(Image stolen from Indcoup)

While the Suharto clan isn’t making any gains some Indonesian retailers are hoping to capitalize on the event, as are retailers everywhere. Although one French retailer is having trouble in China (again).:

Carrefour has fallen into trouble again with its Fangzhuang Store in Beijing selling fake Adidas footballs promoting the 2006 World Cup.
The ball with the sign of “Teamgeist” and price of RMB59.90 sold in the store has a similar appearance as that of real official ball of the World Cup. An unnamed staff from Carrefour Fangzhuang store quoted in local media says that he has no idea whether the ball has anything to do with the World Cup.
In response to this, Zhu Chenye, a manager from Adidas China, says that the football found in Carrefour is certainly a fake product for they have never produced footballs of that price. According to Adidas, the football used for the World Cup usually costs about RMB900.

For those disappointed that they won’t be able to buy fake balls at Carrefour, Malaysia’s Kenny Sia has a DIY solution.:

Yes, that’s right. For a fraction of the cost of an authentic adidas Teamgeist, I could make my very own official FIFA World Cup 2006 soccer ball. And I’m gonna show you how.
First, you’d need a regular soccer ball. Any one will do. Get a “Made In China” one at your local sports store for a cheap RM40.
Sure, it won’t last as long and the specs aren’t as good, but the improvements in the Teamgeist ball are minimal in practice you probably won’t notice it anyway.
Use spray paint of ICI Dulux, whichever you prefer. Gotta have a white background before you paint the designs on later ya know?
Now comes the difficult part.
You know how the Teamgeist ball features the signature World Cup trophy-inspired ’rounded propellers’? That’s important. That’s the whole reason why so many wanted the ball in the first place.
But how do you do it?
You get a box of Kotex.


In neighboring Singapore, which is unlikely to soon produce a World Cup Team, a scandal is developing based upon the pay scale the city state offers to African imports playing in the S-League.:

A story that has been running here in Singapore concerns the working conditions of a group of footballers from Africa (Kenya, Cameroon and Nigeria). In stark contrast to the wages earned by those competing at the world cup these players moved to play in the Singapore S league. All had signed contracts with the club, promising them $1,600 a month in salaries. But the club also deducted $1,500 of that money for food and accommodation, as the players had signed a separate contract with the club authorising the deductions. It is now reported that the issue has been resolved - after a meeting over the weekend between the Football Association of Singapore, the players and club management, the players have accepted a new deal, which will now increase their monthly take-home salary from S$100 (US$62) to about S$600 (US$375) a month

When AP suggested that Singapore will not soon have a World Cup team that assumption was based solely on economics and demographics. The city state cannot compete with any of the regional behemoths in either population or resources. However, if one sociologist is to believed Singapore may also be at a disadvantage because it is majority Chinese and the Chinese can’t play football.:

“A lot of people are pained by the fact that Chinese football did not makes it way to the World Cup. Many people make it a point of patriotism and blame the systems or institutions involved. I feel that Chinese people being bad at football is related to the character of our culture.
Chinese people, especially the Han, are a elegant and scholary people, who were never a proponent of reckless bravey and battle, preferring softer and more elegant methods. Football is not like this, it is an attack-intensive sport, with a violent character. American football is even more violent. These sports are not suited to the character of our culture.
There is lots of evidence for this:
Look at the historically famous men, from 梁山伯 to 贾宝玉. They are all bookish people.
Until a few years ago, the Chinese language did not have the word 性感 (sexy). Chinese people historically did not value ferocious images of men.

The Chinese don’t understand aggressive sports or sexiness??? AP is pleased to have some evidence to the contrary… for instance this local Esquire pictorial.:


Continuing with China, while AP has never envied local reporters, he does presently wish he was a sports reporter for a local Chinese outlet. It seems that all you have to do is show up to the games and make stuff up.:

Since the beginning of the FIFA World Cup in Germany, something strange is happening in Chinese journalism. Xinhua, CCTV and other official media sent huge teams to Germany, but their news reports are unexciting. Instead, the local or Internet media have scooped some amazing exclusives. For example, when Brazil beat Croatia at 5am on June 14, the Sohu sports page immediately had an exclusive interview with Brazilian star Kaka.
Finally, Xinhua could not stand it anymore and published an article titled “People who are even more awesome (full of shit) than Parreira) to expose the massive fabrications from certain Chinese reporters. The report pointed out that the extent to which Chinese reporters have gone must have astonished even Brazilian trainer Carlos Alberto Parreira.
For example, Franz Beckenbauer must be very busy going from one game to another, but he seems to be interviewed by mainland Chinese media every few days. He does not speak Chinese, but in the Sports Weekly exclusive interview, he can name the individual players on China’s national team. Even better yet is the exclusive interview with FIFA chairman Sepp Blatter in Shanghai Youth Daily, in which he came over after the reporter called out his name in a hotel lobby.

The tournament has been relatively free of violence this year, although there has been one unfortunate incident in an unlikely place.:

Thai gunman kills two noisy World Cup fans
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Thai police are searching for a gunman who shot and killed two soccer fans at a beach resort after complaining they were cheering too loud.
The two men, both Thais, were watching Italy’s 2-0 win over Ghana at a restaurant Monday at the Thai beach resort town of Pattaya, and erupted in roars when Italy scored its first goal, said Panipha Wattakul, a girlfriend of one of the victims.
A man seated at a nearby table asked them to quiet down, prompting a heated argument during which the man pulled out a handgun and shot the soccer fans at point-blank range, said Police Col. Somnuek Chanket. The victims were identified as Chamlong Rongsaeng, 30, and Somnuek Sonkun, 41.

Also in the Mekong region, Magnoy’s notes a Reuters item in which Cambodian strongman Hun Sen warns citizens not to bet the farm… literally.:

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen urged his impoverished people on Thursday not to sell their possessions to place bets on the soccer World Cup, saying it was probably a bad idea. “Go ahead and watch it, but do not sell your cows, motorcycles, cars, homes and land to bet on the games,” Hun Sen, a one-eyed former Khmer Rouge soldier, told farmers at a provincial hospital opening.
“Just bet verbally, for fun. Don’t sell your cows to bet on games of football,” he told the several hundred villagers and foreign diplomats at the ceremony.
World Cup fever has gripped the war-scarred southeast Asian nation, with Cambodians from every walk of life staying up into the small hours of the night to catch their favourite teams in action.
Hun Sen himself confessed to backing Japan — his government’s largest donor

AsiaPundit does not have a national team this year — and being Canadian likely never will — but he does have hopes for Korea, Japan, the US and Australia. For those who are also without a national team to root for, Owen offers a tool for making an ethical decision.:

WidebannerThe World Development Movement has a handy tool to help the ethical football supporter decide which team to support.
As I type, Tunisia is beating Saudi Arabia - according to the WDM, this is good news as it means that the 3rd most supportable team is beating the 29th most supportable, on measures such as carbon emmissions, corruption and military spending.

Finally, the Nomad notes with some disbelief a report that the South Korean cheering section has become a tourist attraction.:

Surely it can’t be so, but if I read it in a Korean paper, and it has something to do with Korea, then that’s the way it is. According to an article in the Korea Times, people from other countries are paying money (I know, unbelievable, ain’t it?) to come over here to take part in the outdoor cheering for the South Korean soccer team. Yes, you read that correctly, nothing wrong with your monitor or your eyeglasses.
“South Korea’s victory against Togo at the 2006 German World Cup on Tuesday put the country back into the world spotlight again after its achievement in the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. The soccer match, however, was not the only thing that caught people’s eyes _ what really made people excited was the outdoor cheering in the streets, plazas and other public places filled with people in red shirts, just like during the 2002 World Cup.”

While the Nomad is doubtful, AsiaPundit is more inclined to support that thesis. There is something appealing about South Korean fans. Some of them in particular.


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by @ 11:01 pm. Filed under Japan, South Korea, Singapore, China, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Thailand, Games

5 June, 2006

Asia Blog Awards: Q1 2006-2007

AsiaPundit is pleased to announce the commencement of the new round of Asia Blog Awards. The awards are based on the Japanese financial year, which ends on March 31, and nominations are now open for the April 1-June 30 period, full-year awards are to be based on the quarterly contests.

Details are below, nominations for the below categories can be made on the individual pages linked below until the end of June 16 (Samoan time).

Awards are at present limited to English-language or dual-language sites.

Region/Country Specific Blogs:

Non-region specific awards:

Podcasts, photo and video blogs must be based on original content — which means a site such as Danwei.tv is acceptable but TV in Japan is not (although it is an excellent site).

Some categories may be deleted or combined if they lack a full slate nominations - and some may be added should it be warranted.

Winners will be judged in equal parts on: (a) votes, (b) technorati ranking and (c) judges’ selection.

While judges will naturally have biases, they will hopefully offset imbalances in other areas (such as inevitable cheating in the voting and inflationary blogroll alliances in the Technorati ranks).

The names or sites of the judges will be public.

Judges will be ineligible for nomination. As the awards largely intend on providing exposure to lesser-known sites of merit, we are hopeful that authors of ‘A-list’ sites that tend to dominate such contests will disqualify themselves by being judges.

The contest has been endorsed by previous ABA host Simon who is also serving as a judge (thereby disqualifying Simon World).

Traffic — the most telling and accurate measure of a site’s populatity — may be a consideration in future awards. However, at present, there is no clear or universal way to accurately measure and contrast traffic (sites such as Sitemeter, Statcounter offer results that cannot be compared, while services such as Alexa.com do not work for sites that are not hosted on independent domains).

This is all imperfect and will be tweaked in future events (with transparency, of course).

Most importantly, this is intended to be fun.

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by @ 3:02 pm. Filed under Japan, South Korea, Blogs, Singapore, China, Pakistan, India, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Myanmar/Burma, Southeast Asia, Philippines, Media, South Asia, Thailand, Web/Tech, Weblogs, North Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, Central Asia, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Tibet

13 April, 2006

miss khmerica

ThaRum notes that Miss Utah 2006 and that state’s representative to the Miss America pageant is creating a stir in Cambodia because of her Khmer heritage:

Ut-SwimAccording to US national who has worked in Cambodia for many years, and now speaks fairly well in Khmer, Jinja is curious about what his Khmer friends think about the traditional annual American beauty contest. “Most families in the Cambodian countryside would be horrified to see their daughter enter a public swimsuit competition. But ‘Freshie Girl’ this ain’t.”

Photo taken from Soben Huon’s blogspot site.

Carl also notices at Friskodude and comments "Rarely do I get the opportunity to post Cambodian cheesecake on this blog, so I’ll take advantage with this image of the newly crowned Miss Utah, who will soon be participating in some silly American game show and competing in the Miss America contest.":

Soban-309Miss Utah USA 2006 is Soben Huon, 22 years old, from Provo. She is the daughter of Matthew and Sambath Huon. Soben graduated with High Honors from Millikan High School ranking in the top fifteen percent in her class. Currently a senior at Brigham Young University, she is majoring in Political Science with an emphasis on International Relations. Her goal is to attend Stanford Law and study International Law.

As a Cambodian Classical Ballet Principle Dancer, Soben has received several awards. She also plays the violin and is a self-taught piano player. She is Cambodian and speaks fluent Khmer, the official language of Cambodia. She is also learning Spanish and French.

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by @ 8:09 pm. Filed under Cambodia, Asia, Southeast Asia

21 March, 2006

bbc not censoring for china

AsiaPundit had some harsh words for the BBC last month after the Financial Times reported on the launch of a parallel BBC Chinese website and alleged that the Beeb would be censoring their content.

The BBC denied the allegation and said that the site was not part of its news operations but was part of its language program. Further, it added that while it would mostly be offering British news of a cultural nature, which would unlikely offend the Chinese government, it would not be censoring its service.

The China Digital Times, via Howard French, has run an item from an Indian Financial journal republishing the original allegations, prompting AP to revisit the matter.

While AP was initially harsh on the BBC after reading the allegations in the FT, he would like to note the service was true to its word and did not censor its site.

Nick Wong earlier this month reported that the BBC’s allegedly censored site was briefly blocked on the Mainland after putting a report on its fromt page regarding the Tiananmen Mothers’ Group.

Nick’s site has relocated to here, but a Google cache of the original post is .Tags: , , , ,

by @ 9:08 pm. Filed under China, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, Web/Tech, Censorship

28 February, 2006

AsiaPundit was going to link to Imagethief’s posts on how US corporate leaders need to show some more leadership or on how Google may be the victim of a dispositioning campaign in China, but instead AsiaPundit will give this post on topless lemur photos top billing.:

 English 2006-02 27 Xinsrc 5220203271318343984759

So combining live actors and cartoons is a deadly sin, but it’s still OK for the state news agency to publish a photo of a t*pless woman clutching a lemur to her bare chest,

Ya gotta love this country. More Xinhua “Beauties with Animals” here. If you must.

If I get any Google hits to this page from searches for “lemur+bra” I’m abandoning the Internet forever.

Other interesting reading on lemur bras Google in China see Non Violent Resistance, and Rebecca’s article in the Nation, where she asks:

The question is not whether the Chinese Communist Party will succeed in hanging on to power. The real question is, For how long? A few years? A few decades? Another half-century?

If they can continue to distract the populace with pictures of women wearing lemurs, AsiaPundit would be willing to bet the CCP will be able to stave off the revolution for quite a while.

(Photo stolen from Xinhua, copyright unknown)

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by @ 12:39 am. Filed under China, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media

21 February, 2006

brother no. 2

At Cambodia Morning, a partial reproduction of a Tribune item on Pol Pot’s brother.:

D10BPAILIN, Cambodia - Brother No. 2 sees few visitors at his home in the jungle. He is old now, and something in his chest whistles when he laughs at the word "genocide."

Nuon Chea is the most senior surviving leader of the Khmer Rouge, the Cambodian utopian movement that swept to power in 1975 behind revolutionary Pol Pot, known as Brother No. 1, and led one of the 20th Century’s most extreme and enigmatic frenzies of bloodletting.

For years, the question of why it happened - and how it might be prevented from happening again - has met only silence or denials from the few who hold the answers. But the world is about to find out whether these secretive former leaders will unravel the mystery of why Cambodia killed nearly a quarter of its population.

"I acknowledge there was killing," Nuon Chea said at his two-room wood house beside the heavily mined border with Thailand. "But who controlled it?"

(Image stolen from this 2002 PBS item)

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by @ 10:13 pm. Filed under Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia

6 February, 2006

domestic press and the firewall

Via the Taipei Times, Rebecca MacKinnon analyzes the role of search engines in China’s broader repression of the media.:

YahooWriting in Shanghai in the 1930s, China’s great essayist Lu Xun(魯迅) once observed: "Today there are all kinds of weeklies. Although their distribution is not very wide, they are shining in the darkness like daggers, letting their comrades know who is attacking the old, strong castles."

Muckraking broadsheets in the first half of the last century played cat-and-mouse games with Chinese government censors, ultimately helping to expose the corruption and moral bankruptcy of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government and contributing to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) victory in 1949.

If this sounds familiar, it is because the CCP never forgets its history — and is determined to prevent history from repeating itself. Thus, China’s rulers acted in character last December, when they cracked down on news organizations that were getting a bit too assertive.

The editor and deputy editors of Beijing News, a relatively new tabloid with a national reputation for exposing corruption and official abuse, were fired. In protest, more than 100 members of the newspaper’s staff walked out.

Most Chinese might not have known about the walkout if it hadn’t been for Chinese bloggers. An editorial assistant at the New York Times, Zhao Jing (趙京), writing under the pen name Michael Anti, broke the news on his widely read Chinese-language blog. He exposed details of behind-the-scenes politics and called for a public boycott of the newspaper, evoking strong public sympathy for the journalists, which was expressed online in chatrooms and blogs.

Zhao’s blog wasn’t under the direct control of the CCP’s propaganda department. It was published through a Chinese-language blog-hosting service run by Microsoft’s MSN Spaces. On Dec. 30, Zhao’s blog disappeared. Since then, Microsoft has confirmed that its staff removed the blog from an MSN Internet server, citing the need to respect Chinese law when doing business in China.

Microsoft’s contribution to Chinese political repression follows Yahoo’s role in the sentencing of a dissident reporter and Google’s decision not to display search results that are blocked by what has become known as the Great Chinese Firewall. Indeed, China has developed the world’s most sophisticated system of Internet censorship, thereby hiding information unfavorable to China’s rulers from all but the most technologically savvy. The system is bolstered by human surveillance carried out not only by government employees but also by private service providers.
(image stolen from here.)

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by @ 1:13 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media

1 February, 2006

While companies do avoid answering questions from the press, and from Congress, they do open up a little more :

Anthony Noto - Goldman Sachs

Thank you very much. I wanted to focus on three areas that I think you’re generating very little revenue from if not any at all. Specifically, Google images, Google local and then Google China. I think the last time we touched base you were generating zero revenue in Google China, is that still the case?

Omid Kordestani Senior Vice President, Global Sales and Business Development

Hi, yes. China, we actually have both the online availability, the advertising available so that customers can come through the online channel and we’re very actively building our direct capabilities there. One of the things that’s important, obviously, is having all the right infrastructure on licensing available for us to be able to operate locally. So we’ve been very focused on just establishing ourselves. We’ve had great success actually in signing up resellers and the results from working with these resale appointments have been excellent, actually, in terms of a number of advertisers have actually joined our online program. And we’re looking forward to establishing direct relationships with both agencies and clients directly as our capabilities are getting built up.

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by @ 11:07 pm. Filed under China, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Web/Tech

12 January, 2006

cambodian arrests

‘Strongman’ Hun Sen is reverting to type:

Ribbon-TextA recent spate of arrests including journalists, trade unionists, and prominent human rights activists in Cambodia has had a chilling effect, as civil society organizations and others grow increasingly fearful of expressing opinions. Over the past three months, the Constitutionally-protected right to freedom of expression in Cambodia has come under grave threat from a series of criminal defamation lawsuits filed by the government. Five individuals have been arrested and detained on defamation charges related to criticism expressed of the government, and at least five more than fled the country to escape arrest.

The arrests have heightened long-standing concerns about executive government interference in the judiciary in Cambodia. All of the recent criminal defamation charges have been based on complaints filed by the government or its leaders. Most relate directly to opinions expressed about Prime Minister Hun Sen of the dominant Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), and criticisms over sensitive border issues with neighboring Vietnam.

The crackdown on freedom of expression, which follows three years of severe restrictions on freedom of assembly, marks a continuing backward slide in Cambodia’s democratization and efforts to promote human rights, rule of law and judicial independence. The hard-won steps which have been made toward human rights and pluralistic democracy – including an active civil society, a vibrant news media, and a political opposition which is a vital part of any democracy – are in danger of being lost.

(via GV)

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by @ 8:17 pm. Filed under Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Censorship

28 December, 2005

human security report

The 2005 Human Security Report has listed the top 10 ‘Warmongers; (as Harry describes them) since the end of World War Two and and two Asian nations make the top 10:


Peacefully rising China and gentle Thailand fall into a crowded seventh place with six international armed conflicts each.

In other sections, Burma solidly beats India for the country with the highest number of conflict years - with Ethopia, the Philippines and Israel rounding out the top five.


But it’s generally good news for east Asia, which hasn’t had a major inter-state conflict since the 1970s.


Full report here (pdf).

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by @ 8:25 pm. Filed under China, India, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam

13 December, 2005

an asean constution

Rajan has come upon a preliminary draft of the proposed constitution for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean):

Asean7. Freedom of movement of people and goods shall be guaranteed except

a) When there is a national monopoly or well-connected corporation like Proton and PT Tri Polyta that needs to be protected.

b) When there is a pointless, wasteful, inefficient national industry that needs to be protected

c) For Jews…err, Israelis, in Malaysia and Indonesia.

d) For Filipinos and Indonesians going to Malaysia and Singapore, where in Malaysia they shall be placed in humiliating, delapidated camps where their rights shall not be protected.

e) To Acheh, Papua or occasionally, parts of the Spice Islands in Indonesia, the mountains of Vietnam, most states of Myanmar and the entirety of Laos, God-forbid any reporter sees anything there.

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by @ 8:20 pm. Filed under Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Asean, Southeast Asia, Philippines, Thailand

8 December, 2005

misbehaving monks

AsiaPundit has decided against joining that Cambodian monastery he was accepted at earlier this year. Being a monk no longer sounds like any fun.:

Wayward, womanizing monks face arrest and expulsion

By Sam Rith

Regulations announced jointly by the Ministry of Cults and Religion and the Supreme Patriarch of the majority Mahanikaya Order have restricted the activities of Phnom Penh’s more than 3,000 Buddhist monks.

From December 1, monks may not beg for food in crowded places such as markets. Nor are they allowed to solicit donations with loudspeakers or stroll with women along the riverside. Violators face arrest and re-education for a first offense, and expulsion from the monkhood for a second.

According to the new guidelines issued on September 13 the directives will guide monks to behave as the Buddha intended

Chhoeng Bunchhea, cabinet chief for Patriarch (Sangharaja) Tep Vong of Wat Ounalom, said the regulations were aimed at the small number of monks observed during the past four or five years whose unacceptable behavior was bringing Buddhism into disrepute….

Among those critical of some monks’ behavior is 47-year-old Chea Chamroeun who lives under a banyan tree on the riverside in front of Wat Ounalom. He said he respects only those monks who have good Buddhist discipline - and reckons that would be only 10 percent of the monks currently in Phnom Penh.

“Since I was born [in Kampong Chhnang province], I never saw monks tickling girls, and climbing trees to whistle and wave at girls as the monks in Phnom Penh do,” he said.

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by @ 8:27 pm. Filed under Cambodia, Asia, Southeast Asia, Religion

3 November, 2005

attack of the 600-foot mao

China is continuing to develop its ‘red tourism’ industry, by erecting a 600-foot statue of the dictator who killed millions.

50Ft600-feet Mao Zedong Statue

Mao beats liberty again, almost three decades after he died.

There is plan to put up a 600-feet (183-metre) Mao statue in Juzizhou in Changsha, the capital of the central province of Hunan - the humble Statue of Liberty is 150 feet tall. The extraordinary erection is an attempt to “fully utilise the resources of red tourism”. (Sources: Changsha Evening News / Hong Kong Ming Pao)

Cambodia has its own version of ‘red tourism,’ on a recent trip there we visited the Tuol Sleng memorial/museum, the killing fields, and the land mine museum. They were all honest, reflective, disturbing and didn’t try to cover up the nation’s ugly history.

China could learn something from its poorer neighbor.

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by @ 10:11 pm. Filed under China, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia

31 October, 2005

land-mine detecting plant

AsiaPundit is amazed by this latest piece of bio-technology news, while not specifically Asia related, this could have great applications in Cambodia and, eventually, in a unified Korea…. a plant that can detect landmines.:

IMG_0475Danish scientists have made a scientific discovery with significant humanitarian and environmental potential. They have shown that it is possible to produce plants which change colour in the presence of specific compounds within the soil, opening the way for the first bomb and land-mine detection plant.

Danish Company Aresa Biodetection has been working on the plant for several years but has now developed the plant to the stage where it is a becoming commercially viable biodetection system and can change colour from green to red within 3-5 weeks of growth.

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by @ 10:09 pm. Filed under Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia

20 October, 2005

wikipedia blocked in china

Wikipedia, the web’s open-source encyclopedia, has been blocked in China.


On the main page on Wikipedia in Chinese, a sentence appeared:”Some users in mainland China are finding accessing problem temporarily for unconfirmed reasons”. It also asked the users who can visit the page to report their region and ISP in order to have some further judgement of the situation.

As Dan at the Shanghaiist says You Bastards! Wikipedia inaccessible in Shanghai:

Online do-it-yourself encyclopedia Wikipedia, every lazy blogger’s best friend, will not load in Shanghai without the aid of a proxy server. The site worked yesterday. Most assume the free information source has been blocked by the Chinese government. We can’t imagine why. Shanghaiist hopes this is just a temporary glitch, but then we just read this and now wonder if we should care

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by @ 8:49 pm. Filed under China, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Web/Tech

30 August, 2005

tuesday links

China has declared it will ban tobacco advertising and cigarette machines, things that Imagethief notes, don’t actually exist.:

Chinacig… I’m not really sure of the impact that this treaty will have,
regardless of the vigor of enforcement. In my time in China, I have
seen almost no cigarette advertising that I can recall, and exactly
zero cigarette vending machines. I have, however, seen cigarettes being
sold in every corner store in the country, in every restaurant (just
ask the waitress to bring you a pack) and by a nearly infinite number
of street vendors operating from suitcases, cardboard boxes and
blankets rolled out flat on the sidewalk. So I’m not sure a ban of
cigarette machines will keep the devil-sticks away from the grasping
hands of China’s innocent babes.
A ban of sidewalks and restaurants might have some effect.

While AsiaPundit acknowledges that smoking is harmful, he doesn’t believe that banning tobacco companies from event sponsorship is a good idea. And it’s a shame China doesn’t have any tobacco advertising, the pre-revolutionary stuff was rather keen.


The bans, no matter how useless, may still be a positive step for China’s health. It was not so long ago that Japan was also a nation of smokers. Now, the government is auctioning its 200,000 yen luxury ashtrays.:

AshholesThere once was a time in Japan when tobacco was king, with puffing
considered the norm and non-smokers treated as second-class citizens.
Those days are long gone as smoking is now banned on trains, in
stations, in certain areas of the city, and in other areas where large
groups of people gather.
One of the more comical stories to come out of the no smoking era is the report that officials in Yamagata, Japan are planning to auction off 28 cast metal “luxury ashtrays”
that were once positioned at various locations around municipal
offices. The ashtrays are no longer necessary since smoking is now
banned in government buildings.

At Far Outliers, some reminiscing from a Chinese ‘volunteer’ from the Korean War.

One afternoon during the "airing grievances" session [among Chinese
POWs in Korea], the medic said something almost incredible, though
there must have been some truth to the story. He told us: "When our
former division suffered heavy casualties near Wonsan, we rushed over
to evacuate the wounded men. There were hundreds of them lying on a
hillside. I was naive and just went ahead bandaging those crying for
help. But our director told us to check the insides of the men’s
jackets first. If the insignia of a hammer crossed with a cycle was
there, that man must be shipped back immediately and given all medical
help. So we followed his orders. All those men who had the secret sign
in their jackets were Party members. We left behind lots of ordinary
men like ourselves."

Not many people get to take in the Communist Party retreat at Baidaihe. That’s a shame, it sounds like fun.

The waitresses seemed dainty and neat after the big Russian women of
the night before. Then they disappeared into a side room where a lot of
good-natured shouting and screamimg was going on. Some women were
egging someone on in a drinking contest, Mr Dong explained. I thought
the waitresses had gone in to restore order. But then Mr Dong said "It
is the fuwuyuan who are daring the leaders to drink …" One
red-faced man tried to escape but was physically manhandled back into
the room by these petite butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-ther-mouths girls.
Then after a crescendo of squealing and chanting, three men emerged
looking bedraggled and reeking of baijiu.
"These fuwuyuan
are very naughty," said Mr Dong, grinning. "They use very rude words to
make the men drink, saying they are not men and can’t make their wife
happy …"
As we got up and left the dining room, we passed the side
room and saw one man passed out on the floor. The waitresses were just
"He is one of the Beijing city party leaders," said Mr Dong. "He won the contest."

The Aseanist refers to an Asia Times article on the shifting of alliances in the region.:

RiskIndia and South Korea are sitting on the fence and could go either way
depending on how events play themselves out. For example, Chinese
support for Pakistani aggression could put India on the side of the US
against China, while aggressive and unilateral military action by the
US could solidify an Asian alliance. The current Sino-Indian
rapprochement could also be unraveled by a flare-up over their
territorial disputes in Aksai China and Arunachel Pradesh, energy
competition on the world stage and China’s encroachment into India’s
"sphere of influence" as seen by its improving relations with
Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, attempts to join the South Asian
Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and growing naval presence
in the Indian Ocean.

The maker of political film Singapore Rebel has surrendered his camera and tapes to the police.:

A Singaporean film maker who could be jailed for making a documentary
on an opposition politician has surrendered his video camera and tapes
to police investigators.
Martyn See told AFP the equipment and
six existing tapes of "Singapore Rebel," a documentary about Chee Soon
Juan, secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party, were handed
over on Monday evening.
He was told to surrender the tapes,
including two master copies, and the digital video camera after police
questioned him a second time last week about the documentary.
have no idea when they will return or even if they will return at all,"
See said. "They just said they need the camera and tapes to investigate
my case which was violating the Films Act."
Singapore’s Films
Act bans political advertising using films or videos, as well as movies
directed towards any political end such as promoting political parties.

Singapore’s People’s Action Party controls all of the press, which do nothing but positive coverage of the party. You’d think someone would try to get Channel News Asia’s stuff seized by the cops.:

CnaMr Yap Keng Ho aka Uncle Yap, an activist in Singapore, made a police report today against CNA. Uncle Yap is asking the police to look into two programmes by the state-controlled local broadcaster ChannelNewsAsia or CNA, Success Stories and Up Close. These programmes can also be considered "party political films" under the Films Act.

Why get a spy satellite when you could use Google Earth?:

South Korea is discussing with the United States measures to ban
private American companies from showing satellite photos of South
Korea’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, the Defense Security Command
(DSC) and other facilities related to national security on the Internet.
National Security Council is discussing the matter with the U.S. side,"
Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Man-soo said. "At the moment, we have no
way under current laws to prevent U.S. companies from taking satellite
photos (of Korean security facilities) and releasing them publicly as
part of commercial activities."
Kim was responding to a report in
the daily Segye Times that said search portal Google has a service
called Google Earth that makes available images of South Korea’s
presidential office, the DSC and naval and air force bases.

Cool! Look, it’s President Rho’s house!


Google Earth is currently not available on Mac, but I would be interested in seeing if anyone can get me aerial of Zhongnanhai.

Visit OneFreeKorea for the Carnival of Revolutions and the North Korea news update.

Also from Korea:

No judge, no jury, no trial, oh by the way, your father is a Japanese collaborator and a traitor to Korea.

Aussie lingerie model Michelle Leslie, under arrest for drug possession in Indonesia, has changed her faith, the Swanker notes.:

MichelleleslieMichellelesliehijabSo Michelle Leslie has gone from this… to this.

Quite the contrast.  It seems Michelle has found God:

"Michelle as a Muslim made the decision to wear the hijab
(head-covering) to find solace with God, not for any other purpose,"
family spokesman Sean Mulcahy said yesterday.

This is just a hunch, but AsiaPundit suspects Michelle wasn’t wearing a hijab when she was nabbed with the ecstasy tablets.

AsiaPundit was going to link to at least one post from new group blog Paris Indonesia today, but they were all so good he couldn’t decide. Read the whole thing.

From Angry Chinese Blogger, 101 ways to tell you live in China.:

Spittoons are
considered a foreign contrivance that has no place in Asian society. As
are cheese and non-smoking sections in maternity hospitals.
get into the back of a Taxi cab and find that it has no safety belts,
but that the seats are still in the plastic wrappers that they were
delivered in.
You can go to prison for trying to hold an election, but not for rigging one….

Cambodian strongman Hun Sen is not someone I usually agree with, and I’m sure his comment here has a touch of xenophobia, but I heard enough tales about international aid workers in Cambodia and East Timor to understand his point. Via Cambodia Morning:

(Kyodo) _ Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Monday the foreign aid given to Cambodia every year is spent mostly on .
In the year 2002 alone, he said, some $115 million was spent on technical assistance.
Sen told a gathering of government officials that much of that money is
spent on first-class air tickets and five-star hotels for foreign
experts, who sometimes come to Cambodia only to polish the results of
hard work done by Cambodians.

Two great Taiwan blogs, Jujuflop and View from Taiwan, have something to say about an AP article on the alleged dwindling support for independence.   

Western journalists do not have the most basic understanding of Taiwan,
or they think it is too complex to explain to their readers. That is my
conclusion after having read the latest article about Taiwan which
fails completely to dig beneath the surface and get any more nuanced
than describing a battle between absolute independence and absolute

AsiaPundit has posted a few items about healthcare in China recently, from Marginal Revolution, Amit Varma and Sepia Mutiny, a disturbing NYT item on an Indian maternity ward.:

BabyJust as the painful ordeal of childbirth finally ended and Nesam
Velankanni waited for a nurse to lay her squalling newborn on her
chest, the maternity hospital’s ritual of extortion began.
she even glimpsed her baby, she said, a nurse whisked the infant away
and an attendant demanded a bribe. If you want to see your child,
families are told, the price is $12 for a boy and $7 for a girl, a lot
of money for slum dwellers scraping by on a dollar a day. The practice
is common here in the city, surveys confirm.
Mrs. Velankanni was
penniless, and her mother-in-law had to pawn gold earrings that had
been a precious marriage gift so she could give the money to the
attendant, or ayah. Mrs. Velankanni, a migrant to Bangalore who had
been unprepared for the demand, wept in frustration.

Another Malaysian politician has joined the blogosphere.

Perhaps the collapse of the CCP won’t be brought about by laid-off SOE employees or aggrieved farmers. No, perhaps the future belongs to the young.:

NightelfChinese players of the "World of Warcraft" online game have begun an Internet signature campaign protesting Chinese government plans to limit the country’s online gamers to three hours of consecutive playtime.

"These restrictions violate the rights of online game players," one
Chinese player wrote on the petition. "Trying to prevent young players
from being addicted is good, but this new system will be a total

As of August 29, more than 1,000 Chinese gamers had signed the petition opposing implementation of the new time limits.

by @ 9:39 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, South Korea, Blogs, China, India, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Weblogs, North Korea, Australia

17 August, 2005

early wednesday links

Picture3_1Ben Muse notes that 80% of China’s oil has to travel from the Malacca Strait. Noting that the nation would be at risk from a conflict with India or an incident in the Straits would be a problem. This should be an area of mutual concern for the US and China. The former has long been arguing with Malaysia and Indonesia that Straits security is a global concern. Only Singapore has agreed to allow non-littoral states to engage in anti-piracy patrols.

Via BoingBoing, Piracy kills creativity.

In China, even cats know kung fu.


An editor at the China Youth Daily has written an open letter blasting new appraisal regulations that erode editorial freedom. ESWN translates. That an 26-year veteran editor of a Communist Youth League-owned paper should be openly criticising moves to create a more dogmatic paper is impressive. But Ian Lamont at Harvard Extended  notes that the desire for press freedom by Chinese journalists isn’t new.:

Kelly Haggart, on Chinese journalists during and after Tiananmen:
"There is pride among Beijing journalists about those few days of press freedom. For one thing, it showed the potential of Chinese journalists. For the first time they were allowed to act like real reporters and they did no worse at covering the story than their more experienced foreign counterparts. … For almost all city people, no matter what they thought of the students and their hunger strike, that week of relative press freedom brought home to them the importance of more open, more enterprising media. Freedom of the press was no longer a complete abstraction." [page 50]


54_sudokuscreenThe Eclectic Econoclast points to a site offering Suduko-generating software. Wikipedia notes that the Japanese number puzzle has this year gained global popularity.

If Shappell Corby, the Aussie tourist  sentenced to 20 years in a Balinese prison for drug smuggling, is released on appeal… she could be in the money.:

4754schapelle_corbyMen’s magazines will rush to sign-up Schapelle Corby for a raunchy photo shoot if she is freed. And the convicted drug smuggler could earn up to $500,000 for a sexy bikini shoot, according to reports.
FHM magazine has revealed Corby polled strongly in its 100 hottest women vote but editors decided against including the former beauty student, fearing a public backlash.
"At the time she was on trial and potentially could have been executed . . . so it may have been in slightly poor taste," FHM editor John Bastick was quoted as saying in The Courier Mail.

Brand New Malaysian points to the hazards of overplanning photo sessions.:

How corny does that look? At best, it shows the over-enthusiasm of this senior academic to portray, perhaps how attached and devoted he is to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, as to put the book on a pedestal.
At worst, he comes off looking like a brown-nosing hypocrite that set up the placement of the book for the photography session.

BeachJapan isn’t just importing cheap manufactured goods from China, Japundit notes that New Tokyo has imported a beach.

The Marmot doesn’t trust a new poll that finds South Koreans would overwhelmingly side with the North .

The survey by Gallup Korea of 833 individuals born between 1980 and 1989 also found a marked shift in attitude to North Korea and the South’s traditional ally, the U.S. Some 65.9 percent responded they would take North Korea’s side if it was at war with the U.S., while 21.8 percent said South Korea must stand with the U.S. and the rest were undecided.

Singaporean scientists have invented a device that could help solve China’s chronic power shortages. With 1.3 billion people here there is a lot of urine that could power this device.

Taiwan’s first iPod-related crime almost sparks a diplomatic incident.:

A 12-year-old girl tried to threaten her friend to get her iPod back, but accidentally dialed the Swaziland ambassador. The kind ambassador has decided to forgive the twerp who called her up in the middle of the night. Lucky for that girl it was the Swaziland ambassador she accidentally called, and not the ambassador from a certain Central American nation that bitched me out in front of everyone at a Far Eastern Hotel cocktail reception once.

Taiwan_noteA look at representations of aboriginals in Taiwanese baseball, and the origins of the image on the 500 Taiwan dollar note.

Arms Control Wonk notes that reports of the number of Chinese-government front companies operating in the US are consistently overestimated.

The existence of “3,000 Chinese front companies” is one the most persistent claims about China floating around. The number is often attributed to the FBI, but as far as I can tell that’s wrong too. Or it used to be.

Averagekorean_1Finally, scientists have determined what an average Korean looks like.

ThaRum has an excellent post on Cambodia’s emerging blogosphere.

by @ 8:17 am. Filed under Culture, Japan, South Korea, Blogs, Singapore, China, Money, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Media, South Asia, Weblogs, North Korea, Australia, Sports

15 August, 2005

late monday links

Is Taiwan a renegade province, independent country or a US protectorate?

… Japan renounced its sovereignty over Taiwan, but did not turn over that sovereignty to either the PRC in Beijing or the ROC in Taiwan. Neither the PRC nor the ROC were invited to the San Francisco treaty conference, and neither was a signatory to the treaty.
This means that the USMG remained the sovereign legal authority in Taiwan. Article 4(b) of the treaty states this in recognizing the authority of "the United States Military Government in any of the areas referred to in Articles 2 and 3," as does Article 23(a) recognizing "the United States of America as the principal occupying Power."
This treaty is still in effect. In the opinion of a number of scholars of international law, Taiwan is neither a province of China over which the PRC has legitimate sovereignty, nor is Taiwan a sovereign state of itself. It is, rather, an overseas territory of the U.S.

In South Korea, video games have been linked to two deaths.

ImprovedfurongThe Communist Party of China have banned Sister Furong. XiaXue won’t miss the competition, though an alliance would benefit the Sister more than a competition. She could do with more of Wendy’s  photoshopping.

The long-delayed Khmer Rouge trials may soon begin, and they will be blogged.

There’s an in-house argument at Coming Anarchy as Curzon reacts to Chirol’s earlier post on North Korea. Curzon says, Nuke it!

Meanwhile some in South Korea have started to act more French. On top of appeasing, now there is a move to rid the language of Japanese cognates.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister was assassinated on Saturday. Munir at Diplomatic Review and Manish at Sepia Mutiny wonder if the Tamil Tigers have returned to their old ways.

But if Sri Lanka returns to war, perhaps we will be fortunate that Aceh, Indonesia, may finally find peace.:

A Leap of Faith That’s the peace accord between the Government of Indonesia (GoI) and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) signed today in Helsinki. The deal centers on a decommissioning of the GAM rebel movement, in exchange for participation in the political process, and a withdrawal of the Indonesian army and police forces from the troubled region, to be completed by the end of the year.

Not everyone is happy about the new agreement, Gateway Pundit reports on protests in Jakarta over the fact that the peace deal provides for peacekeepers.

Indonesian protesters raise their fists as they shout ‘Allahuakbar!’ (God is great) during a protest in Jakarta, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2005. Hundreds of Muslims staged the rally rejecting the presence of non-Muslim countries, especially the United States and European Union, in the troubled province of Aceh to participate in the monitoring of the peace accord between the government and the separatist rebels which will be signed in Finland on Monday.

Yes, yes, in conservative majority-Muslim Indonesia protests can be expected from the Islamists, they even protested the "Miss Waria Indonesia 2005" contest. (Agam’s Gecko via FriskoDude).


So the other night, #7 was a story on "Miss Waria Indonesia 2005". And
I thought to myself, "Wow, those are some brave girls… er, guys." For
you see, waria in Indonesia is the same as kathoey in Thailand — although for obvious reasons, not as generally well accepted as part of the local fauna. The word waria
– in line with the Indonesian propensity for making new words out of
cryptic abbreviations for any and everything — is a combination of wanita (woman) and pria
(man). In Thailand, the transvestite cabaret shows are very popular
with locals and tourists alike. Huge venues like Calypso and Alcazar
are world famous for their shows, and are packed every night. For many
foreign visitors, attending a "ladyboy" cabaret is a must-do when in
the Kingdom. They are really quite amazing.

2l5axgthumbBut, protesting ladyboy contests are expected, threatening to boycott Proctor & Gamble because they use this hottie as a model is just plain weird.

But no matter how odd nationalist Chinese netizens can be,

the Japanese can be even stranger (not porn, but nsfw).

Bruce at Naruwan Formosa brings us an Aussie open letter to China’s Premier Hu Jintao.

It seems that China continues to try to emulate Singapore, it’s testing out a state-sponsored matchmaking program for the PLA.

Single 25 year old officer looking for politically reliable, progressive thinking woman of upright conduct to be lawfully wedded spouse. Must be 23 years or older and prepared for extra one week holiday to celebrate our union.
Please apply immediately to my unit’s commissar.


Spg2In an effort to make up for any disturbance the katooey pic may have caused, I feel obliged to include another photo of an actual woman. The Sarong Party Girl is featured in an interview at Capital Region People (via Tomorrow.sg).

This may be a first, the Wanabe Lawyer has fisked a podcast.:

The ‘podcast’ starts off with a rant against the PAP, using the same old accusations and assertions that attempts to stir up anger and hate. The really funny part was when CSJ immediately went on to claim that they would offer alternative policy proposals, rather than just criticising the PAP, because ‘they believe in being constructive’.
I believe these proposals are rubbish, and I will explain why, and thus provide the reasons why I hold the SDP with particular disdain.

For Indian readers Happy National Day! For Koreans, Happy Liberation Day! Remember, .


by @ 9:22 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, South Korea, Blogs, Singapore, China, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Current Affairs, Media, South Asia, Web/Tech, Weblogs, North Korea

5 August, 2005

jet-lagged linkfest

I’m back from vacation and now happily married. Thanks to all co-pundits for keeping the site active for the past three weeks.

While I was away…

China continued to strengthen its regime of open markets but closed culture. The NY Times has an item here and China Confidential notes:

China’s media regulators, including the Propaganda Department and Ministry of Culture, revealed an array of new regulations designed to stop additional foreign satellite channels from entering the Chinese market, while strictly controlling and seriously limiting the influx of foreign television programs, films, books, newspapers, magazines, Internet sites, video games, cartoons, and performing acts, including theatrical performances.

Meanwhile across the Strait, Taiwan regulators effectively shut down seven TV broadcasters. A situation JuJuflop doesn’t think is too terrible.

But Taipei isn’t just shutting down media organizations, Wandering to Tamshui notes that the Taiwan Daily is being kept afloat with the assistance of state-owned enterprises.

In lovely Singapore, it’s not enough to execute marijuana traffickers, police insist on banning  photographic displays noting that the trafficker ever existed.

Sister_fKenny Sia rips into the Sister Furong phenomena while Fons discovers a Brother Furong.

China’s wooing of despots justly gets unfavorable coverage at Traveler’s Tales and The Horse’s Mouth. But Glenzo notes that Mugabe didn’t get everything he wanted.

Jove Francisco has a roundup of the action at the Philippine mini bloggers summit.

Laowiseass is bugged about something.

There’s a nice description of one of my most remembered South Korean street stall dishes at Pharyngula, live octopus tentacle, Including a link to a (currently inaccessible) . On a related note, Preetam has an audiofile of the Bundgie Experience.

The Economist’s View offers an argument on why you should support your third-world sweatshop.

From Japan - the country that gave us the vibrating video game controller vibrator - now comes vibrating cinema seats.

Deeshaa points to a great article on India’s impending rise.

China and the US agree on something, though India and Japan won’t be happy about it.

As the Six-Party talks continue, barbarian envoy brings us a long and informative item from the Atlantic Monthly noting some terrifying scenarios on a conflict on the peninsula.

Japundit has a great two-part series on Koizumi’s post office reform here and here.

Cambodians are rapidly adapting to the mobile phone, although to spread pornography. Some are calling for a crackdown.

NurseThe Polish tourism board has developed an ad campaign in which a sexy nurse attempts to woo Japanese tourists. Personally I think this will be effective at wooing other nationals as well.

Jeff explains why you should never go to Busan Beach to relax.

Over at the Big Yuan concerns that China’s failure to secure Unocal will force it to increase its dealings with odious regimes to gain resources. As well, while Big Yuan is somewhat relieved by the deal’s collapse, the jingoism displayed in the US is a greater worry.

Meanwhile, the avidly anti-CPP D.J. McGuire of China-e lobby smells blood and is encouraged to make China an election issue.:

Rather than risk a political tangle that could last long enough for the anti-Communist right and the anti-Communist left to form a lasting alliance - and that is the one thing in the American political arena that scares Zhongnanhai more than anything else - they will pull back and let everything die down.

The Radioactive Chef thinks the ditching of the bid is to prevent the US from getting too riled up ahead of a Chinese move against Taiwan.

Thomas Barnett meanwhile brings us some sober reflection from Ben Stein.

by @ 1:31 pm. Filed under Culture, Food and Drink, Japan, South Korea, Blogs, Singapore, China, India, Taiwan, Malaysia, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Philippines, Media, South Asia, Weblogs, Censorship, North Korea, Central Asia

15 July, 2005

cambodian oil prospects

Cambodia Non-Stop Feeding is blogging developments in Cambodian oil and gas fields:

SIEM REAP, Cambodia (Reuters) — US major Chevron Corp. will assess the scope of its offshore Cambodia oil find early next year, raising hopes for the country’s first production by 2008, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

Chevron will drill six appraisal wells and four more exploration ones in early 2006 after discovering oil or gas in five of the six wells it drilled in

Cambodia’s Gulf of Thailand over the last two years, said Ho Vechit, vice-chairman of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority.

"If the findings are positive, oil production may commence as early as 2008," he told an industry conference.

This seems to be good news for a country as impoverished as Cambodia.  Oil’s importance to the global and regional economies was attested to in the recent ASEAN conference, and having feedstocks near growing Asian markets is also an advantage.

by @ 2:17 am. Filed under Cambodia, Economy

9 July, 2005

saturday links

Late-linkage after a blogging-free Friday.:

A new group blog for the Indian blogosphere DesiPundit

US conservatives attack Hollywood, but they should love Bollywood:

1. No sex. If you’re lucky, you might see some wet sari.

2. The films often revolve around finding a wonderful spouse and getting married.

3. The bigger the wedding, the better.

4. Lots of piety. Religion is *never* mocked or portrayed in a negative light.

From IslaFormosa, a look at Taipei’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Taiwan’s former president goes manga.

LeeEven former ROC President Lee DengHui got on the bandwagon by posing as as the fictional character Edajima Heihachi of the anime series Sakigake!! Otokojuku. It’s no secret that Lee is a pocket ‘Japanophile’. He was educated in Japan and can speak Japanese quite fluently (he was given a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University). His cosplay was widely seen as a way to shore up support from young people for his Taiwan Solidarity Union party’s Taiwan independence platform.

The first issue of the Cambodia Economic Review is online.

I mentioned that Bill Gertz’s Washington Times item on China’s rising military threat would be a good template for a Phillip K Dick-style novel, a libertarian site in the US has developed an initial treatment:

China has emerged as the world’s largest and fastest-growing economy.
After retaking Taiwan in 2007, and annexing North Korea a year later,
China then successfully "Finlandized" Japan, and now oversees a vast
Pacific empire that would have made the 1942 Japanese government green
with envy. China’s thirst for the Middle East’s oil leads it to support
radical Islamic clerics, but this support goes unpunished, as no major
country stands a chance if it goes against China’s wishes.
xhiang, introduced in 2009, is now the world’s premier currency,
followed by the euro, the Canadian dollar, and the U.S. dollar.

The top news story from Thursday? According to Xinhua and CCTV it was that Hu Jintao met world leaders. Tom Vanvanij, meanwhile, looks at Thailand’s Nation Channel.

Kevin in Pudong translates offensive reaction on Chinese bulletin boards about the London bombings:

Terrorism is the only way for the weak to fight back against the strong. No matter what reaons they may have, the US-British attack on the people of  Iraq was wrong and constitutes blatant terrorism. All the weak can do in response is to bring you down with them.

"Terrorism is the only way for the weak to fight the powerful"… it’s not surprising that so many Chinese netizens think this way. Perhaps its because they can’t access messages from birthday boy Dali Lama.

On the bombings, there was the typical reaction from the left to blame Blair and blame Bush. Reaction to the bombings from some in the anti-CCP camp was equally distressing.:

America, the United Kingdom, and the rest of the free world will never be secure until China itself is free. The road to victory in the War on Terror does not end in Kabul, Baghdad, Tehran, or Damascus, and it certainly doesn’t end in Jerusalem. The road ends, and lasting victory can be found, only in Beijing. Until China is on the list for liberation, preferably peaceful, the War on Terror will never end.

Rebecca McKinnion has a roundup of Arab reaction and displays a banner Muslim bloggers can use to show their disgust at the bombings.

Has Howard found his cajones? Australia has granted Chinese defector Chen Yonglin a visa.

Sure, sushi and sashimi can give you worms, but you should be safe if you use (sake wouldn’t hurt either).

More musings on Sinofascism.

Free condom distribution is helping the people of Uttar Pradesh, though not necessarily with birth control or AIDS prevention.:

Some workmen mix them with tar and concrete to give a smooth finish to roads, or to make waterproof ceilings, and some villagers use them to carry water when working in the fields. And, of course, youths turn them into water bombs. But the main use here is in the sari industry, where they’ve become an essential part of the production process

In Japan, it’s time to scare the neighbors - though anti-Japan sentiments from Chinese and Korean political leaders no doubt helped gain support for the constitutional amendment. An East Asian war is still unlikely. But Japan faces other security threats.

In our continuing series of links useful for tourists in Pyongyang, here’s a useful site on the city’s subway system.

The author of a slanderous tome on former Malaysian deputy PM Anwar Ibrahim has gotten one year in jail. The book’s financiers have not been established or punished.

Kenny Sia treats himself to a two ringgit luxury public toilet experience.

Imeedarna180x270_1Imee Marcos, the glamor-shot savvy daughter (see left) of Ferdinand and Imelda, says Filipinos should not tolerate liars and thieves (chortle). More on the  situation in the Philippines at  MLQIII, PCIL, By Jove and Sassy. Also Gateway Pundit has a selection of links.

Inflation in North Korea, yes the NK won has continued to become more worthless.

GI Korea and explore the even-handedness of Seoul’s press.


by @ 10:17 am. Filed under Culture, Food and Drink, Japan, Blogs, China, India, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Philippines, Media, South Asia, Thailand, Weblogs, Censorship, Terrorism, North Korea, Australia

25 June, 2005

six apart advises on china blackout

Via Glutter, TypePad owner Six Apart has confirmed the blocking of TypePad sites in China and advises:

We’ve become aware that all TypePad sites are currently being blocked in China, similar to the block put in place last year. We discovered the blocking in the same way that most of our TypePad members did, by hearing about it from readers in China.
Until access is restored, the only recommendations we can make for
workarounds is to use any web proxies which are available for routing
requests to TypePad through another site. In addition, third-party
services for processing syndication feeds aren’t currently being
blocked, so if you’re using another service to enhance your
TypePad-published XML feed, it’s likely the feed will still be
available to audiences in China.
To be clear, the availability of TypePad-powered sites in China
isn’t something we have control over, but we do hope that full access
is restored quickly, as it was last year.

by @ 6:46 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, Web/Tech, Weblogs

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Mr. China - by Tim Clissold:

How to lose $400 million in the world's biggest market.

Imelda - Power, Myth, Illusion:
A documentary on the former Philippine first lady that is damning, sympathetic and incredibly funny.

Yat Kha - Re Covers:
Siberian throat-singing punk band searches for its roots's - Bomb the Twist:
Three Japanese women play 1950's-inspired punk.

Gigantor Box Set Volume 1:
The original giant Japanese robot

Mao: The Unknown Story - by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday:
A controversial and damning biography of the Helmsman.

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